Companies can no longer ask job applicants for their salary history, thanks to a bill that Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law in July. The law goes into effect on September 29th. While the law advances pay equity and could be life-changing for workers, it isn’t a blank check for you to get paid more just because you ask for more.
Why it’s important
On the surface, asking for salary history doesn’t seem unfair. If someone is making X, the company can offer X + Y, and potentially you’d be happy with the increase.
The problem is: Who’s to say that X - was fairly determined? For years, we’ve heard job seekers lament that they are underpaid by their current employer, and wanted to see a big bump to get back to market. Some of it was real, some of it was not. Now it is somewhat irrelevant. Either way - the numbers don’t lie -salary history questions are a major contributing factor in both racial and gender wage gaps.
Gender and race bias aside, two of the most common things we hear from job seekers is that they’re unfairly compensated and/or that their current company doesn’t value their skills enough. The new company may want to be fair, but if they’re basing a new salary on current salary, they’re inadvertently rolling any biases forward.